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The Formula: 2003 Product Review in JJG

Review appeared in the May 2003 Issue of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.  This was a review of the original book, 7 years prior to the addition of the two DVDs.

Nowadays the guitar educational field is simply glutted with a plethora of method books and learning aids, ranging from excellent to mediocre, but every once in a while there comes along a contribution that is truly unique and ground-breaking in scope. Jazz guitarist Robert Conti’s “The Formula” falls directly into that category, and I recently had the pleasure of reviewing his recent publication for Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.

“The Formula” was inspired by Robert’s early fascination with techniques used by piano legends Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. In his book, Mr. Conti squarely tackles the often-daunting but very popular subject of reharmonization, an almost mystical area of interest among aspiring chord melody guitarists, regardless of their level of ability or years of experience in the field.

Employing the same “easy to learn and apply” philosophy that permeates his entire line of learning products, Robert avoids the excessively theoretical approach typically associated with jazz guitar education, and succeeds in making what could be a highly-complicated topic easily digestible.  Instead of relying on classroom rhetoric, Conti uses real world excerpts from traditional classics to convey his formula to the student.

The book is divided into two sections, the first outlining the basis for the numerous examples, the second containing the musical examples themselves, using chord grid diagrams that make it easy for the student to visualize the application of the formula and its variations in a lead-sheet scenario.  This approach is particularly attractive to those who use fakebooks or individual music scores to create chord-melody arrangements.

In conclusion, “The Formula” is a book that effectively bridges a significant gap for evolving guitarists and even non-guitarists, and is already being viewed by many as a “must have” addition to their learning library.  Highly recommended.  “The Formula” (Pinnacle Publishing) is available for purchase from www.robertconti.com

Review by Mark Stefani

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